On David Byrne, squirmy entertainment, and foils to the expected
Is there maybe a meaningful difference here between the discomfort of noticing actual struggle and sitting through struggle performed for personal profit, especially in its effects? Observing someone have a hard time with something like a self-checkout experience at least has the germ of something potentially positive—it could inspire the bystander to step in and offer to help, make them more aware of other folks' realities and difficulties, or maybe even drive them to be an advocate for making things better. Cringe humor, though, often strikes me as emotional manipulation designed to obscure the fact that there is no "there" there. It's like a degraded version of Artaud's theater of cruelty.
This was a treat to read! I'm also sensitive to cringe, and it was nice to read your thoughts about your own tolerance for it. Also, I'm a huge fan of Bodha incense (we cycle through all 4 at home) and somehow didn't even know they had oils! Congrats on the collab--it looks lovely.